COLUMBUS, Ohio — Federal officials said they arrested Ohio Speaker Larry Householder and four others in connection with a racketeering conspiracy involving almost $61 million in bribes to secure a bailout of two nuclear power plants now owned by Energy Harbor Corp.
U.S. Attorney David DeVillers, during a news conference Tuesday in Columbus, called the case “likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio.”
Householder, 61, of Glenford, Ohio, a Republican, was charged along with Mathew Borges, 48, of Bexley, a lobbyist who previously served as chairman of the Ohio Republican Party; Jeffrey Longstreth, 44, of Columbus, Householder’s longtime campaign and political strategist; Neil Clark, 67, of Columbus, a lobbyist who owns and operates Grant Street Consultants and previously served as budget director for the Ohio Republican Caucus; and Juan Cespedes, 40, of Columbus, a multi-client lobbyist.
Generation Now, a corporate entity registered as a 501©(4) social welfare organization, was also charged.
The investigation is related to Ohio’s passage last year of a law that bailed out two nuclear power plants and the defeat of a ballot referendum to overturn the law, DeVillers said. FirstEnergy Solutions, a former FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary, changed its name to Energy Harbor when it emerged from Chapter 11 earlier this year.
An entity identified as “Company A” paid almost $61 million over three years through the nonprofit Generation Now to help elect candidates who would support Householder for House speaker, pass the bailout law and defeat the ballot initiative, DeVillers said.
The investigation continues, DeVillers said.
“We are not done with this case,” he said.